A constitution is the collection of fundamental principles or established precedents that serve as the legal foundation of a polity, organisation, or other form of body and typically dictate how that entity is to be governed.

When these ideas are enshrined in a single document or group of legal papers, the documents are said to embody a written constitution; when they are enshrined in a single complete document, the document is said to embody a codified constitution. The United Kingdom's Constitution is an example of an uncodified constitution; it is written in various basic Acts of a legislature, court cases, or treaties.

Constitutions apply to various levels of organisations, ranging from sovereign countries to corporations and unincorporated societies. A treaty that forms an international organisation also serves as its constitution, defining how that organisation is structured. A constitution explains the principles upon which the state is founded, the system by which laws are formed, and who makes them

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